Top Portable Water Filters Reviewed
Portable water filters come in multiple sizes and shapes to provide one or more people with drinkable, safe water while away from civilization.
Don’t stress about which one is right for you. We the latest models available and compiled a list with a selection of the best options to save your valuable time for more important activities.
Decide which features suit your needs best and go forth and buy! From UV lights to straws to water filter pumps you have plenty of options to choose from to clean up your water no matter where you go.
No one wants to lug multiple bottles of water around to a campsite or when hiking. These filtration systems let you use the water available without the extra baggage.
Best Portable Water Filter
We were impressed with the number of different models available to filter water on the trail. The units in our review use a variety of different technologies to ensure you get safe water to drink. So after comparing features and analyzing owner feedback we present our picks for the best portable water filter:
How about taking the futuristic technology with you the next time you go camping? No, not a fancy tent, you will still feel like you are outside living like a caveman, but you will still have clean water free of harmful substances. The Katadyn Water Filter is a better option for avid campers than a bottle as it cleans the water into any container you want.
Place the pump in a source of water, like a lake or pond, and the other side into a container then pump the water into a container of your choice. Store the water in bottles, a camel pack, or even plastic jugs for groups. It’s built to last too, which makes this an extremely efficient option.
The silver and ceramic filter effectively eliminates bacteria and protozoa with the microfiltration system. It can pump 1 quart of water per minute with this cartridge capacity and up to 13,000 gallons over its lifetime depending on the water your filter. It’s perfect for sticking in your pocket for travel to exotic destinations.
This set includes a round pump handle, a pre-filter, bottle clip, carry bag, measuring gauge and a cleaning pad. Its weight is minuscule at just 20 ounces and only 10 inches long. The cleanable, reusable filter comes with a 20-year warranty which is the highest out there!
Furthermore, the filter removes sediment, particles, and microorganisms found in freshwater sources. Because you don’t have to carry your water, you can save weight when packing and carry a smaller load. It works even under continuous use and in extreme situations and circumstances. The only real issue, unless you get a defective model is the rather high price, but it replaces thousands of expensive and heavy water bottles.
- Pocket water filter designed four outdoor enthusiasts and international travelers
- Filter's silver-impregnated ceramic element is effective against bacteria and protozoa
- Filters all microorganisms larger than 0.2 microns to produce clear, drinkable water
- Round pump handle for easy pumping; outlet hose attaches to containers with clip
If you and the whole family are packing up to camp at the lake, take the Royal Berkey Water Filter System. Trust me though, you do not want to take this hiking as it’s on the large size. It holds 3.25 gallons of water, which is great for families staying in one spot out camping but not for one person to lug around all day!
The portable container comes apart into two sections with a filter inside. On the bottom find a convenient pour spout for draining the water right into your drinking cup or bottle. This set comes with two filters and you can add up to 4 to increase the flow rate of the system.
It measures 23 inches tall and 9 inches in diameter which is enough space for water for 2-4 people a day. The powerful purification system purifies and filters water by removing over 99% of viruses, pathogenic bacteria, protozoa, and trihalomethanes. It doesn’t stop there as it also removes inorganic minerals, heavy metals, and even pharmaceutical drugs although, you may not find those out in the woods as bears and squirrel usually stay clean.
Each filter works for 6,000 gallons of water before you need to change. This equals out to about 2 cents cost per gallon. Hello, affordable health! As the system does not require electricity, tools, or plumbing to operate. The system requires cleaning which can frustrate out on a campsite and annoying based on the high price.
- 3.25 GALLON CAPACITY- The portable Royal Berkey Purification System effortlessly purifies water for about 2-4 people each day. Add additional Black Berkey Purification Elements (the Royal Berkey System can hold a maximum of 4) to increase the flow rate. The system is just 23” tall and 9” in diameter.
- POWERFUL PURIFICATION- Berkey systems equipped with Black Berkey Purification Elements purify water—not just filter it—by removing greater than 99.999% of viruses and greater than 99.9999% of pathogenic bacteria, while also removing or dramatically reducing protozoa (such as giardia and cryptosporidium), trihalomethanes, inorganic minerals, heavy metals (including arsenic, lead, mercury, chromium), pharmaceutical drugs (including caffeine, Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Progesterone, Triclosan),
- ECONOMICAL, LONG-LASTING- A pair of Black Berkey Purification Elements lasts for up to 6,000 gallons before needing replacement. Each additional pair of elements (sold separately) adds an additional 6,000 gallons of purification power to your system. Black Berkey Purification Elements average just 2 cents per gallon of purified water.
- INDEPENDENT TESTING- Berkey by NMCL uses several independent third-party labs to test a broad range of potential contaminants and conducts Extreme Testing for lead and PFCs in order to show the effectiveness of our Black Berkey Purification Elements.
- DRINK CONFIDENTLY VIRTUALLY ANYWHERE- No electricity, tools or plumbing required. Travel the world, prepare for emergencies, and take control of your family’s everyday drinking water with your Berkey gravity-fed water filtration system with Black Berkey purification elements. Enjoy delicious, nourishing water from the leader in gravity-fed water solutions.
A popular method of portable water filters is a little straw-like filters without a container for water storage. These allow you to save space when hiking and drink straight from your chosen (or only!) water source. The Membrane Solutions gives you four straws for a low price that can fit into almost budget.
This filter offers four stages of filtration including a coarse filter screen, polypropylene section, a coconut shell carbon layer, and a hollow fiber section. The layers work to reduce over 99% of harmful substances and give you clean odor-free water. No matter if the water comes from a puddle or a lake, you will get crisp clean water.
Each straw measures 6.7 inches long and only 1.1 inches in diameter so it can fit in the palm of your hand. Pack it in your bag, hang it around your neck, or find another convenient spot as this is an ultra-portable filter system. Even better, each straw lasts for 264 gallons of water or enough for one person for a year.
Open the cap on both sides, stand it in the water for half a minute, take five quick sips and enjoy. Cleaning is just as easy. It comes in camo print or aqua. Replace with a new straw when the first one dies. Sucking through the straw can be difficult as with most filtration systems with multiple layers.
- ADVANCED AND SAFE TECHNOLOGY: With Membrane Solutions's advanced safety filtration membrane technology, this filter straw is divided into four stages, including coarse filter screen, Polypropylene nonwovens, coconut shell activated carbon and hollow fiber ultrafiltration membranes. It is able to remove all visible solid sediments,reduce 99.99999% of harmful substances, and improve the odor, ensuring the safest water in the worst environments.
- PORTABLE: This straw filtration at only 6.7” long and 1.1” in diameter fits any bottle, cup, or glass. It weighs just 9 ounces and fits in the palm of your hand,pocket, gym Bag, backpacks, survival packs and Purses. You can take it anywhere you want conviniently.
- OPTIMUM PORE SIZE: Our pore size is 0.1 microns. We all know that the smaller pore size, the higher the filtering accuracy, the 0.1 micron aperture can filter out 99.99999% of the tiny material. Compared to the 0.2 micron filter straw on the market, Membrane Solutions 0.1 μm pore size filter straw maintains the optimum flow rate while maintaining the filtration accuracy.
- LONG LASTING LIFETIME: It is easy to disassemble and clean, which could be maximumly extend the its service life.
- VARIOUS APPLICATION: Mini and lightweight filtering system is ideal for recreation, hiking, camping, scouting, domestic and international travel, and emergency preparedness.
The MSR MiniWorks Water Filter pumps water into a filter and then into your container of choice. Take it camping, hiking, or just for emergency preparation. It comes with a ceramic element to filter up to 528 gallons of water into clean drinkable water. It comes with several other benefits as well, take a look.
Place the tube in the water of your choice and attach the bottom of the filter to your container. Use the handle to pump the water and fill up to a fourth of a gallon a minute. The screw-in bottom allows you to attach the filter to almost any wide-mouth container.
The filter meets NSF protocol which means it removes 99% of bacteria and Protozoa. The pump measures 7.5 by 2.75 inches and weighs just one pound. All this for a reasonable mid-range price. Some customers had issues filtering the water with the pump and did not find the filter work at the advertised rate.
- Microfilter water filter pump for hiking, backpacking, camping, travel, survival, and emergency preparedness
- Replaceable carbon and ceramic filter removes bacteria, protozoa, organic compounds, and particulate, delivering clean, taste and odor-free water
- Pumps at a rate of one liter per minute; compatible with a variety of wide mouth water bottles, and hydration bladders (sold separately)
- Meets NSF protocol P231 for removal of bacteria (99.9999%) and protozoa (99.9%); one replaceable filter cartridge treats up to 2,000 liters of water
- Pump measures 7.5 x 2.75 inches and weighs 1 pound; storage bag included; manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty; made in the USA
LifeStraw brand makes an award-winning family-sized portable water purifier ready to travel with you on the road or plane. Don’t pack tons of water bottles or gallon jugs, just take this one tiny filter and provide water for your family.
The filter removes bacteria, parasites, and viruses, a necessity for everyone who drinks water! Even better for those with weakened immune systems or those who travel often. You simply fill the roll bag and collect safe water in a separate container in a few minutes. This is the fastest way to filter, and you don’t need a pump nor do you have to wait for chemicals to react.
Another great feature of the LifeStraw is the filter works for over 4000 gallons of water at a micron size of 0.02 and a bucket capacity of 62 fluid ounces. The bucket is made of polypropylene for sturdiness and BPA free for safety. It’s the perfect choice for a family of four or five for three years. It will definitely work for the life of your camping trips!
It comes with an easy to clean pre-filter and a red bulb for back-washing. Also, it includes a flow rate of 9-12 liters an hour and ways around one and a half pounds. It does not work for saltwater as most filters do not. A small percentage of customers found the taste unappealing and a few others had issues with the smell. As water tastes so different based on location means it’s a very personal preference and not everyone will agree on flavor.
- Award-winning LifeStraw Family is used by over 13,200,000 people worldwide
- Surpasses EPA standards for water purifiers: removes 99.99% viruses, 99.9999% bacteria and 99.9% protozoan cysts to 0.02 microns
- Purifies 18,000 liters/4755 gallons WITHOUT iodine, chlorine, or other chemicals; Clean drinking water for a family of four for 3 years
- Gravity filter - pour water in the top and clean water comes out the bottom; Comes in a sealed bag, perfect for storing for emergencies
- Flow rate of 9 -12 liters per hour
While the other portable water filtration systems on the list do not use any electricity, this one does and it may be exactly what you are looking for. The Survivor Filter Pro X comes with a mid-range price making this an excellent option for people on tighter budgets who want to get out in nature and enjoy clean water.
Because the filter uses electricity, this means no pumping, pressing, sucking, or any other action is needed except to press a button. Yep, that’s it you press a button with the hose in the water and the other side connected to a water bag and wait. You even get a few options for power. Connect to a traditional outlet, a power bank, a solar panel, or use AA batteries if you run out of power. It also provides 17 ounces of water per minute for fast, healthy water.
The portable device is small enough to fit into any space you need except maybe your pants pocket. It comes with a convenient back-washing syringe for easy cleaning even in the wild. No need to replace the filter for over 26,000 gallons of filtration which makes this an exceptional option for larger groups out in the wilderness.
Each filter has three filtration stages to clean up water. Stage 1 includes a pre-filter, carbon filter, and an internal ultrafilter to clear away the rest of the contaminants in water. The filter cleans out bacteria and staph, protozoa, parasites, and viruses as well as reducing heavy metals for clean water. The only issue with this filter is it may not be the best option for those without access to power for extended periods of time, but it’s great for shorter camping trips!
- THE WORLD’S FIRST HANDHELD PORTABLE ELECTRIC SURVIVAL WATER FILTER - Introducing the World's First Portable Electric Water Filter that can Be Used with Any Plug, Mobile Charger or AA Batteries. Produces 17oz of Water Per Minute at the Touch of a Button. Tested to run on a set of High Energy AA Batteries for up to 12000oz of Filtered Water in Poor Conditions and 15000 in Ideal Conditions
- SUPER CONVENIENT AND EASY TO USE - Simply tap the button and watch as it produces 17 ounces per minute of clean water, removing heavy metals, bacteria, parasites, and other nasty substances.
- COMES WITH BACKWASHING SYRINGE SYSTEM - For easy cleaning in the wild of the membrane filters to 100,000+ liters. It's BPA free and comes with all internal filters and tubing, detachable drinking cup, travel bag, details instructions and how to use manual.
- MULTIPLE WAYS TO POWER- the PRO X can run on 2 AA batteries and can be plugged into any 120-240 Volt power source connected through the included USB such as your home, a cigarette lighter or mobile battery pack
- SURVIVOR FILTER LIFETIME WARRANTY - Survivor Filter is based in North America and we cover all manufacturing and other defects with our lifetime warranty. If you ever run into any problems with any of our products simply contact us and we will work to make it right.
With the Sawyer Water Filter System we head back into manual labor territory, but don’t worry you just have to squeeze a little to get your clean water. This model is lightweight and extremely portable with a 0.1 absolute micron hollow fiber membrane inner water filter. This filter comes with several filter options including pouches and a faucet adapter but we are specifically looking at the three personal pouches.
The company claims the highest level of filtration on the market as it removes over 99% of bacteria, and protozoa, and 100% of micro-plastics. It comes with a built-in and removable push/pull cap to spray water into your mouth or bottle from the pouch. You can also attach it to a standard threaded water bottle. The set comes with 3 BPA-free collapsible pouches including a 16 ounce, 32 ounces, and 64 ounces pouches.
When not in use, you can roll up the pouches to fit in any space you need such as a backpack or storage container. Each filter works for 100,000 gallons of water, which is a whole lot of clean water for a single person. Switch to a gravity water filtration system with the included parts too for more versatility.
Finally, you can clean this bottle and reuse it almost indefinitely without ever having to buy or replace another filter. When the water flow begins to reduce, clean it out by back-washing to restore the filter flow rate. Beyond a few customers receiving defective units, most customers love this filtration system.
- Lightweight, easily portable 0.1 absolute micron hollow fiber membrane inline water filter
- High-performance 0.1 Micron absolute inline filter fits in the palm of your hand and weighs just 2 ounces; 100% of MINI units individually tested three times to performance standards by Sawyer
- Built-in and removable push/pull cap; spray water straight into mouth or bottle from included pouch; attach to standard threaded water bottle
- Comes with three BPA-free collapsible pouches (two 32-ounce, one 16-ounce) that roll up tightly for easy packing; can be reused hundreds of times
- Backed by manufacturer's lifetime limited (independent testing laboratory Hydration, LLC.; Microbiological Report S05-03); 100% of Squeeze Filter units individually tested three times to performance standards by Sawyer
The Bottled Joy Water Filter is another portable straw-like device with two stages of filtration. No matter where you go, this filter will serve up safe, drinkable water whether from a lake, stream, or river. It’s a great addition to your backpack for camping, hiking, or even for emergency preparedness. Though, do not use this in the ocean as the salt can destroy the filter.
Also, doe not use this on chemically polluted water as this can damage the filter too. Otherwise, you have a premium filter for water. Stage one uses advanced fiber membranes to collect and remove micro-plastics down to 0.1 microns and reduces turbidity too. The second stage uses the standard activated carbon filter to reduce odor, chlorine, and bad tastes.
You need to use the included syringe to draw up the first 17 ounces to active the straw. Pair the straw with a bottle for added functionality. One filter will last for 400, 17 ounce (or 3 months before you need to replace the filter depending on use) uses to keep you hydrated without the need to carry around expensive water bottles.
Customers love this easy-to-use filtration system. The economical product comes in at the lowest price but does not filter out as much bacteria or viral contaminants as the other brands. This is maybe an entry-level filtration system mainly for cloudy or odor-filled water. Consider a more advanced option for extreme water conditions.
- Safe Water Anywhere: This portable water filter straw provides safe, drinkable water out from streams, lakes or rivers without the burden of a bulky heavy bottle. Perfect for fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, backpacking and emergency preparedness ( NOT for salty ocean water or chemical polluted water).
- Premium Filtration System: This water filter straw is built with premium 2-stage water filtration system. Stage 1: Uses advanced fiber membrane technology, removes the smallest microplastics down to 0.1 microns and reduces turbidity down to 0.1 microns. Stage 2: Activated carbon filter reduces odor, chlorine and leaves no aftertaste.
- Warm Tips and Care: For the first time you use it, use the syringe to draw 17 ounces of clean water from the filter straw before you drink from it. The water filter straw can be used in conjunction with Bottled Joy Water Filtering Bottle, and also is designed for use outside the bottle. Search “Bottled Joy Water Filter Bottle” for more details.
- Eco-friendly: One filter is able to filter up to 400 standard 17 ounce single-use plastic bottles, so you can stay hydrated while eliminating excessive single-use plastic bottle waste.
- 3-MONTH FILTER LIFE: For best filtration results, the filter straw should be replaced every 55 gallons or every 3 months.
One of the neatest technologies around is the Crazy Cap Water Filter. Not only is this portable but also extremely useful for camping and hiking as it can clean any smaller surface using UV light technology. Bacteria, viruses, and microbial’s disappear with the click of a button.
Tap the button on the cap twice to activate the normal mode to clean your water in one minute. For extra dirty water, tap the button on the top five times and to activate crazy mode and completely eliminate all microbes in two minutes. This cap can also sanitize other items like headphones or phones. It has a 7-day battery life on one charge and goes with you where ever you go. It’s not the best option for camping trips longer than seven days unless you bring an additional power supply to charge the cap.
Next, the bottle fits more cola top styled insulated bottles by major brands to clean those too. You can only use this cap on stainless steel bottles as you do not want to degrade plastic. This means you can use an insulated bottle for cold water! Do not use this filter though if you wish to reduce sediments as it works specifically for killing viral and bacterial issues.
This bottle cap can save you thousands of dollars as it can handle half a million treatments in its lifetime. Includes a charger, an extra gasket, wipes, and a manual. As it’s a UV light, it cleans itself too for added value. Mind you, this cap does not include the bottle but you can probably use bottles you already own.
- ADVANCED ULTRAVIOLET WATER PURIFICATION SYSTEM - Transform your standard cola shaped water bottle into a self cleaning, water purifying system. This is the Cap only to fit the bottle you already own (see image for compatible bottles) Also available on Amazon - The CC designer collection perfect fit Insulated Water Bottle with CrazyCap.
- ELIMINATES 99.9996% OF VIRUSES AND BACTERIA - Next generation Deep UV is used in operating rooms and wherever the most effective cutting edge sterilization is needed. Deep UV-C penetrates the DNA, deactivates and turns them into harmless matter instead of just trapping them like standard filters. Tested by leading 3rd party labs
- EASY TO USE WHEREVER YOU GO - Helps eliminate waste and needless expense from disposable plastic bottles. Works by tapping the button. Lasts 500,000 water treatments. Works a full week on one charge.
- REPLACEMENT CAP FOR MAJOR BRANDS - Fits Mira, S'well, Simple Modern, Sfee, and other Cola Shaped Water Bottles. As featured on Kickstarter
- STERILIZES MULTIPLE SURFACES - Acts as a powerful portable UV travel wand. Wave over your phone, keypad, doorknob, etc to kill germs.
The last set of filters are the economical LifeStraw set of three filters. This is the brand most people think of when they think portable water straw and for good reason, the brand has a great track record. The three-pack works for multiple people on the go while hiking, camping, or just to keep in case of an emergency drinking needs from dirty water locations.
Each Life Straw filters up to 1,000 gallons of water for long life before they need to toss out the straw for a new one. These straws also remove over 99% of bacteria including e-coli, campylobacter, vibrio cholera, pseudomonas aeruginosa, shigella, and salmonella. You can also expect 99.9% removal of protozoa, giardia lamblia (or beaver fever, cryptosporidium parvum, and entamoeba histolytic.
Dirty water enters the bottom of the straw and goes through a hollow fiber membrane to trap pathogens and get them out of your water safely. The straw ways only 2 ounces making it lightweight and easy to pack anywhere you need. You can even pack all three in case you lose one or break one and the affordable price makes this possible.
Now for the minor issues. Do not use this for chemical toxins, seawater, or urine as these filters will not remove contaminants from these sources. Also, the straw is breakable, so pack with care and use a soft case for this with foam if possible or if it will be packed in with heavy items. Finally, sucking on any filtered straw takes extra work to get the water out of the filter.
- Each Life Straw filters up to 4, 000 liters (1, 000 gallons) of water (pack of 3 will filter 3, 000 gallons)
- Removes 99.9999% of bacteria including Escherichia coli (e-coli), campylobacter, vibrio cholera, pseudomonas aeruginosa, shigella, salmonella
- Removes 99.9% of protozoa including giardia lamblia (beaver fever), cryptosporidium parvum, entamoeba histolytic
- Perfect for your family and friends to use during camping, hiking and backpacking or for your emergency kits at your home, car and office
- This special edition Life Straw go bottle partners with the American red cross, helping to ensure that people across the Country are prepared for everyday disasters
Questions About Portable Water Filters
What is protozoa?
Protozoa are single-celled organisms that live in moist habitats including freshwater, marine environments, and soil. They can become parasites that you do not want in your body as they can cause malaria, giardia, and toxoplasmosis.
What do portable water filtration not filter out?
Unless otherwise stated, portable water filters do not remove arsenic, iron, fluoride, or heavy metals. Mostly, these devices clean up contaminants the can cause illness such as infectious elements like bacteria, viruses, and microbial’s. While the above elements should not be consumed in large quantities, they are not as dangerous as bacteria or viral contaminants in small quantities.
If you haven’t seen a portable filter in action, here is a good video demonstration of a Lifestraw in action:
How much water should I drink while out hiking or camping?
You need roughly two cups of water per hour for each adult when out camping or hiking. One of the fastest ways to get sick when out in the woods is by dehydration. If you only bring one necessity when hiking it should be water as humans can only live three days without water.
This is why these water filtration systems are so important. You cannot always pack or carry large containers of heavy water but you can take a filter for the water already out in the wilderness. Not only do they help you keep hydrated but help to keep you safe from illness.
Wrapping Up Portable Water Filters
The best portable water filter on this list is the Survivor Filter PRO X Electric Water Filter. You can use this for one or multiple people to provide clean drinking water on the go. As it uses electricity or batteries you do not have to work as hard to get water in your belly. The small portable device can pump into any container you choose and stores in a convenient pouch for easy storage and carrying. All these features plus an affordable price to filter out contaminants and drink large quantities of water to avoid dehydration.
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